Time tends to be everything in sport, and the efforts of the New Zealand cycling team to peak for two pinnacle events in the space of five weeks is proof.

The Kiwis struggled at the world championships in the Netherlands with Rushlee Buchanan's omnium bronze medal the solitary return.

Fast forward to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, albeit with weaker fields, and they will go home with a sack of medals. More importantly their performances have been peppered with personal bests, the truest measure of progress.

The medal count was nine before the final day of competition.


The highlight of the programme has been the rise of the women's sprinters.

Natasha Hansen and Emma Cumming secured three medals between them across the individual and team disciplines, and the 500m time trial.

Add Rushlee Buchanan, Racquel Sheath, Kirstie James and Bryony Botha's silver in the team pursuit, the development of Campbell Stewart with silver in the scratch race, Dylan Kennett's bronze in the individual pursuit and the pedigree of sprinters Sam Webster, Eddie Dawkins and Ethan Mitchell collecting two gold and a bronze between them.

However, the women's sprint results resonated due to their unexpected nature.

1. Hansen and Cumming became the first New Zealand women to earn a medal in the team sprint.

2. Cumming's 500m time trial bronze was the first by a New Zealand woman in that discipline.

3. Hansen became the third New Zealand woman after Sue Willis in 1990 and Donna Wynd in 1994 to get a medal in the individual sprint.

4. Personal bests matched those silver and bronze medals.

"We definitely earned the medal on the back of those personal bests," Hansen said.

"Six weeks ago my coach said they might pull the pin on my world championships and Commonwealth Games campaign because I needed more time for my back to settle down.

"I haven't fired properly since Rio. There has been setback after setback and constant injuries, but the last two months I've had the most amazing support staff help get my body back to where it needs to be. It's rewarding that their hard work has paid off."

"Tokyo 2020 is the big aim for us as a sprint trio," the 20-year-old Cumming added, careful to include fellow squad member Olivia Podmore's efforts on the periphery.

"And to have those three boys [the men's sprint team] training, pushing and working with us, and being the best teammates they can be, is why we're here.

Webster's defence of his team and individual sprint titles saw him equal shooter Stephen Petterson with the most Commonwealth gold medals by a New Zealand man (four). Thrower Val Young has the most overall (five).

He said the team sprint's transition to avenge their sixth at February's world championships justified the commitment to a plan.

"We always plan to be on another level at the world championships, but it was quite harsh because we had never raced a pinnacle event a month before another pinnacle event.

"There are no two ways about it, we got absolute served [in the Netherlands].

"We sat down and had a talk that we had faith in our programme and it would lead to where we are today.

Webster said it was special to see the results roll in.

"Especially with Natasha and Emma. This shows the consistency of a centralised programme, and reiterated what that performance environment does for us."